If you read the stats on Whitney Lake, you will note that at normal pool level it covers some 23,500 acres, has some 225 miles of shore line and is about 45 “river miles” long. That’s a lot of water in anybody’s book. We try to narrow it down and use our style of fishing to whittle away most of the non-productive water.
To tell you where we catch fish on Whitney, we first have to tell you how we approach the lake, that is what our style of fishing is. One thing though, how and where we catch fish may or may not fit your fishing style…. it is just how and where we fish.
1) We generally fish one area of the lake and we have tried to learn it very well as in specific rocks and stickups. Location is important on Whitney because there is so much area and so many places that a person can fish. We usually fish the mid-lake area, but since the water has been down we have been fishing the lower lake lately. We believe that knowing the lake well where we fish is critical to our success. Like real estate, when fishing Whitney its location, location and location. We narrow the lake down to what we know based upon our 10 plus years of fishing there.
2) The weather is a huge factor in our fishing. It determines whether we go fishing or not. Because the lake is so large and the fact that we are old (too much risk for us), we don’t fish when the wind is up, anything above 10 mph and we likely are not going to be on the lake. Our preferred wind speed is 2 to 3 mph. We also don’t fish when there is any possibility of thunderstorms, meaning when the weather report reads: Isolated Thunderstorms, Scattered Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms or any potential severe weather with wind and lightening. Generally, we also will not fish when the temperature gets over 95 or below 35. We do like the winter best. We hope we get to fish some this coming winter.
3) We have just about quit fishing on weekends. Generally, we don’t like the rough/choppy water associated with a lot of boaters, be they fishing boats, ski boats or jet skis. We especially don’t like to fish when boats are active near us, so we do the most of our fishing during the week. There are two reasons for this. First, we believe that the bass in Whitney are sensitive to the boat traffic. We make it a point to stop at least 100 yards from any of our spots when running the big engine and then we quietly troll up to our spots to keep the water disturbance down. Second, we do a lot of worm fishing. Worm fishing requires sensitivity of touch to the line. It is much more difficult to feel fish when the boat is bobbing up and down. So we don’t like the wind or the boat traffic. We get especially unhappy when a boat runs nearby on the big engine. We hate those wakes. We believe that kills our bite on the big fish.
4) We fish Main Lake areas. While sometimes the backs of creeks and coves are good, we stick to the main lake. We find it to be easier to find and catch big bass on the main lake as opposed to the creeks and coves. We believe the concentrations of fish are bigger and better. Because the main lake locations are impacted more by wind and boat traffic, we like the weekdays and especially the days that are relatively calm, and have lots of sunshine, though we will always take cloud cover when we can get it. But, we certainly don’t mind blue-bird skies and calm water.
5) Generally, we don’t beat the banks any more. We have our locations and we fish those specific locations on the main lake. Fishing creeks and coves, generally means we are going to be trolling up and down the banks which is not our style of fishing. If we are beating the banks, then we are searching for fish or we are just tired and getting out of the wind. We are more likely going to specific locations and then spend up to 3 to 4 hours in one spot where we believe fish currently are. You are not going to find us doing a lot of boat ridding. A tank of gas will last us two or three months even though we fish several times a week.
6) We love the winter time. Our results have shown that the biggest stringers of fish are caught in the late fall, winter, and some early spring. Basically November though March. It would be typical to find us on the lake on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
7) We generally are fishing for the bigger fish not lots of fish. Quality versus quantity. We are looking for that bass over 10 lbs. That’s what we want to hang on the wall. A bass from Whitney in excess of 10 pounds. Currently, the Boss has an 8 lb bass and I have a 9 lb 8 oz bass mounted and on the wall in the den, both are Whitney bass.
8) We key on birds and schooling fish when we find them. We like to find schooling fish along the shore line. Schools along the shore line will contain black bass, white bass and stripers. We skip the schooling fish out in the lake because they generally don’t contain a lot of black bass. But, up near the shoreline, those schools are going to have some big blacks in them. Birds along the shoreline are what we call “fish finders.” We always will check them out. A good pair of binoculars is an essential tool. Top water lures in shallow water and big bass is just fun that is hard to beat.
Our style of fishing doesn’t fit the needs of a lot of folks. Most guys fish tournaments and those tournaments usually occur on the weekends. They are not going to find the same fish we find or at least not in the same numbers. Those fellas are not going to sit in one spot for two or three hours not catching anything, while waiting on the fish to come in and turn on. But, that’s a lot of what we do. We are really happy if we get just one or two big fish on one trip.
All that being said, here is the description of where we fish.
On a typical day, we are going to be on the water at day break or there abouts. The first thing we are going to do is check for schooling fish along the shore. If we can find those, we know we can likely catch some good fish quickly. We don’t mind the white bass and stripers being mixed in; they are fun too. For bass, this fishing generally will go away in the first hour unless it is cloudy and then it may go on for a couple of hours. Typically, we are not going to fish more than 4 or 5 hours total, and by noon or 1 p.m. we will be off the lake. We don’t fish any at night and seldom in the late evening. In the winter, we often fish from 9 or 10 a.m. until 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
After the first hour, we likely will be fishing in our prime locations, but with T-rigs and C-rigs. These locations are primarily going to be main lake points and humps. These locations are obvious on any Whitney Lake map you pick up or on your topo map on your GPS. There is nothing magic about them. Everyone fishes them. Our favorites are going to be those that have a river or big creek channel that cuts close to a hump or to a shore line point that has a shallow flat next to it. Most of our flats are going to be 1 to 15 feet deep. The channels are going to be 20 to 70 feet deep. I am not going to give you the specific locations, except for one specific example, which is Point 8. Point 8 has 50 to 70 foot water in the channel and that channel runs right up next to a shallow flat area which depending upon the lake level will be the top of Point 8 or the shallow shelf that begins at the end of it. There are a number of similar locations in the main lake area, we have 26 such spots marked in the mid lake area. We fish the shallow flat area, and the ledge where the channel drops off. Its that simple. With today’s electronics and the quality of the lake maps, these main lake points and humps are very easy to find. Those are our targets, those locations will produce the most and the biggest fish. Your electronics will tell you if fish are present. Perseverance will tell you if they are going to bite on any given day.
Today, the lake is down 16 feet. That is about as deep as we normally catch fish. If you have a chance to get out to the lake, I suggest you spend a day in the areas you like to fish and use up your digital camera and GPS marking and documenting potential spots.
The things we do differently are that we fish slow, very slow. And, we fish every rock and stick and we don’t give up on a spot very easily. We may spend all of one day in one location. We are very persistent. If we don’t catch fish there after a trip or two, we will move to a different location, but it is going to be a similar location.
I don’t think the Boss or I could place in the money in any bass tournament on the lake. We have seen a lot of those tournament guys come in at the ramp. They often have had huge bags of fish when we had none or only one or two small fish. We can’t compete in those deals and we don’t try. We would just be putting our money in their pot. We don’t have the skills sets for tournaments. We enjoy our fishing and our hunt for that good old biggern.
I hope you enjoy your fishing and hope that you catch lots of fish. There are plenty of black bass in the lake… and lots of big ones. We are always happy to visit with you on the ramp, but prefer not to visit on the lake. Take care and always “set the hook.”